Rev. Dr. Richard E. Harding

  • Born: June 16, 1926
  • Died: May 16, 2020
  • Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Fowler-Kennedy Funeral Home

42 Concord Street
Maynard, MA 01754

Tel. (978) 897-7343

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather

Our dad died having left his mark on the world and the hearts of many.

Rev. Dr. Richard E. Harding (June 16, 1926-May 16, 2020) originally of East Boston spent his career as a devoted and admired United Methodist Church minister in Kentucky, Chicago and across Massachusetts. Although a distinguished graduate of Union College (where he met wife Shirley) and Boston University School of Theology, his greatest learnings in life were from the people he met and the places he loved, including Newfoundland Canada - a second home that stole his heart, and Botswana where he served as a missionary pastor for a year in 1991 in his retirement.

If you had the pleasure of knowing him, you know he was fascinated by people and their stories. A storyteller himself, he would often enamor you with his own adventures and perspectives on the world. He was an educated and travelled man, but he was most impressed by a strong character and a good sense of humor, no matter your background or stature.

He was a minister, a humanitarian, and an activist. He was passionate about politics, human rights and community. He would get lost in conversations, he would challenge you, and he was goofy (insert Donald Duck voice here!).

He was intensely present, full of life, and at almost 94 years, it's fair to say his was a life well lived. He soaked up the small things and rallied for the big things that mattered (even his yearly Christmas letter could be mistaken for political satire).

He was active in the Civil Rights and anti-war movements and supported gay marriage as one of the founders of the Reconciling Retired Clergy of New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and an active member of the Religious Coalition of the Freedom to Marry in Massachusetts.

More than his many accomplishments and accolades though, he was most proud of his family. He is survived by his wife Shirley Harding (Harrington) of 72 years; children Elaine (Tom), Richard (Beth), Sue (Gord), and Leslie (Ed); seven cherished grandchildren Christine, Gordie, Josh, Ashley, Corey, Sara, and Jason; and four beautiful great-grandchildren Zachary, Ronnie, Shelby and Leila. He is predeceased by sister Peg, and sons James and John.

He was the epitome of grace, humility and patience. He served in every sense of the word and we shall miss him and honor him in our memory every day.

A celebration of life will take place at a later date, post COVID-19. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to a charity of choice.

Condolence & Memory Journal

Sincere condolences to cousin Dick's family on his recent passing. He lived a life of kindness,generosity and unselfishness to all. Simply put- a great human being. We'll not forget him. June and Ron

Posted by Ron Robbins - St. John's NL Canada - Family Friend   May 25, 2020

Elaine, Rick, Sue and Leslie. My condolences on the passing of your Dad. His dedication to peace, equality and human rights was always an inspiration to me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by Michael Curtis - Cambridge, MA - Family Friend   May 25, 2020


Dick was such a gracious, loving, Christian man. He always knew the correct thing to say to one or group. I'm sure Jesus has welcomed him with open arms and has said well done my good and faithful servant'. In sympathy, k.Diane Hammond

Posted by K. Diane Hammond - Marlborough, MA - Friend   May 25, 2020

Dick will always be a special person in my life - a mentor and a friend. It was an incredible experience to serve with him on the staff of the Sudbury United Methodist Church. Dick was kind, just, loving, graceful, influential, and humble. He was a true man of God, and I will be forever grateful that the path of my life intersected with his. My prayers are with all of Dick's family and friends. In Peace, Rev. Jeff Hunt

Posted by Jeffrey Hunt - Rochester, NH - Coworker   May 24, 2020

Sincere condolences

Posted by Vera Robbins - Toronto - Family   May 24, 2020

In d,eepest sympathy,we will miss you Rev. Harding,Marjorie Glencross Sudbury .SUMC/ Maynard Mass.

Posted by A friend   May 24, 2020

The last time we saw you end of January, if we had known that was the last time we will see you, we would have hugged you tighter.
You will be greatly missed my friend. Rise in Glory!
Tsitsi Moyo and the girls.

Posted by Tsitsi Moyo - Framingham - Friend   May 24, 2020

Shirley, and all of Dick's family, I want you to know that I loved Dick very much. He was kind, persistent, and the embodiment of a Christian man. I am so very sorry for your loss, and for all who knew and loved Dick. In Christ, Nan Howells

Posted by Nancy Howells - Portage, MI - Friend   May 22, 2020


Uncle Dick - you were very well loved by all. Peter and I were so glad to have seen you in Boston a couple years back. Although we didn't get much time together, you were always so special to me and my family. Please say hi to Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Paul.

Loves all around,
Andrea & Peter

Posted by Andrea Patel - St.petersburg, FL - Family   May 21, 2020

Family Album

Community Photos

The last time we saw you end of January, if we had known that was the last time we will see you, we would have hugged you tighter. You will be greatly missed my friend. Rise in Glory! Tsitsi Moyo and the girls.